Frey (Frei, Fry) family

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Frey is a Swiss Mennonite family name which apparently originated in the lower Aargau of the canton of Bern. In the latter half of the 17th century the name was represented among the Anabaptists of the Oberland area of the canton. A 1717 Palatinate census list of Mennonite families of Bernese origins names a Hans Martin Frey and a Johannes Frey. In 1731 Hans Frei was a member of the Streigenberg congregation of the Upper Palatinate. By 1759 the name was found among the Mennonites of the Montbéliard area. A list of Mennonite families in South Germany published in 1940 named one Frei of the Sinsheim congregation.

In 1717 a Johannes Frey landed in North America. In the colonial period the Frey family was represented not only in the Skippack community of eastern Pennsylvania, but was also found in the Mennonite settlement in Virginia at least as early as 1730. Later the family was represented in Ontario, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Jacob Frey, who migrated from France to North America in 1839, settled in Fulton County, Ohio, where numerous descendants live. Eli L. Frey, Amish Mennonite bishop, and J. C. Frey, Amish Mennonite deacon, both of Fulton County, were prominent church leaders who were descendants of Jacob Frey. P. L. Frey, son of E. L. Frey, and Bishop E. B. Frey, son of J. C. Frey, have been Mennonite ministers in Fulton County. Frey also appears among the Prusso-Russian Mennonites. Gustav Frey was an active educator and General Conference Mennonite Church pastor in Kansas and California.

Author(s) Melvin Gingerich
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Gingerich, Melvin. "Frey (Frei, Fry) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 30 Jun 2022.,_Fry)_family&oldid=119582.

APA style

Gingerich, Melvin. (1956). Frey (Frei, Fry) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 June 2022, from,_Fry)_family&oldid=119582.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 396. All rights reserved.

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